Sticky Faith (Ch. 4): Sticky Faith Conversations

How do we have the greatest impact in our talk with our kids? This week's chapter gave some great principles in addition to some very concrete examples of doing this. I don't know about you, but sometimes the quotes of young people are as moving as the info they share.

Powell & Clark's research resulted in some very interesting observations:

  • "While we know actions speak louder than words, words still really matter" (p. 70). In a culture that overly prizes actions, we can't forget that someone does need to communicate the message with words. As Romans 10:14 reminds: "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?"
  • "Who you are as a parent is far more important than what you say" (p. 70).  You probably had the words of James in James 2 ringing about how a faith that is not lived should be a major concern for a person. If our faith is not in Christ, our conversations and talk won't bring Jesus into them at all.
  • Parents who talk about doubts help build sticky faith. Doorways for working through questions were created. Powell & Clark share some of the most common doubts that high school'ers and then college students struggle with (p. 73). Great reflections for anyone with a person this age in their life!
  • Christian parents tend to avoid tricky subjects. In fact, research was found that the more religious a person is, the less likely they were to talk about sex. (And this often discouraged discussion with parents about any difficult subject.)

So, if you are cultivating a love and passion for God in your own life, the question becomes: How do you use your words well?

Powell & Clark don't neglect to provide some useful lenses for thinking about how to have productive conversations with a young person. Check out page 75-92 for practical discussion and engaging ideas and examples. (Keep in mind, with little adapting, these can be used in the life of any young person God has put in your life.)

  • Provide Space and Time for Quality Conversations
  • Learn to Listen and Ask Questions, Not Lecture
  • Create the Right Venue for Meaningful Conversation (Such as a date night, watching a TV show or movie and discussing the themes, etc. A great example of this is on p. 79.)
  • Don't Avoid the Touchy Subjects
  • Be Creative if the Child Doesn't Want to Talk to You  (This could be summarized as the "missionary" approach... don't expect them to come to you, you come to them. Take them to a movie they are interested in, etc. and see what conversation may happen.)
  • Share Your Own Faith: When you are seeking direction, convicted of a sin (share age appropriately), thanking God for something, and so on. Invite the young person to live your journey of faith with you as they continue to grow in their own.
  • Seek Out Sticky Faith Ideas from Other Parents: There are some GREAT ideas of things drawn from others on pp. 86-88.
  • Talk About Your Doubts
  • Develop Conversation Rituals (Some examples: creative worship experiences, dinner conversations, etc.)

Let’s Talk

Join us in the comments below. Feel free to ask a question or share a response to someone else's.

Which of these stood out to you? Why?


What's an example of how someone has done one of these in your life or someone else's?


Check out the series or follow-up on the conversations in the posts below:

Next week: Chapter 5 “a sticky web of relationships”.

6 Responses

  1. Sticky Dad
    I had a mentor who was much older than the college students he would bring together at his house each week. It was there we talked about hard subjects, such as sex, but his being willing to talk about them in terms of our following Jesus was an experience of seeing that Jesus really did want to impact even the most difficult of subjects. The mentor also was also very open to our own lives, struggles, and views on things. His door was always open to us...
  2. Mom of young (hopefully) adults
    I catch myself reflecting on how I could have done it better as a parent. I'm encouraged that I haven't completely missed the boat. I can still have dates with my big kids, make time for them to hang out to chat and be purposeful with my time with them.
    • Brian
      Hey "Mom of young, hopefully sticky adults", Yeah, picking and typing those names can be tough but great to hear from you! That's a great point to add to this is that it is never over. The Holy Spirit continues our work, especially as parents/grandparents, no matter the age. It was great hearing your ideas on how you do that. Hope you'll share some more! The wisdom of those a bit further down the path is important to us at FirstCov.
  3. Mom of young, hopefully sticky adults
    Oops - picking a name and typing it correctly is apparently challenging
  4. Brian
    I was thinking how all of these create opportunities but what will come out of the times is what the person values and treasures. So our own active relationship with Jesus is key to grow and cultivate in our own life if we wish to share Christ with others.
  5. Lindsey
    "Learn to listen and ask questions, not lecture" stood out to me. I've noticed that I need practice with this in conversations I have with people other than my children as well. It is easy to think "what I know is true and I need to convince others of it." So I think it was important that the authors pointed out that our children would most likely be closed to our input if they know we will only be sharing what we think instead of listening to what they think (p. 78). I've been learning more and more about how important it is to have children make their own decisions and think through problems for themselves, but still using us to guide and direct them in the process.

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